Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Ceramic Sculpture, 2012

In the studio we worked from a model. I had to fight the urge to sculpt in a more primitive or abstract manner.  I've wanted to learn sculpture for so long and was able to use mother's sculpting tools. I wasn't prepared for having to hollow her out in preparation for the kiln. That was a surprise! But, I didn't want her to blow up and ruin someone else's work.  I have much to learn and am really enjoying the challenges of doing 3-dimensional art.


Friday, December 9, 2011

Alice Irving

My mother, Alice Irving (b. 1920 d. 2003)
My Maternal Grandfather

My Maternal Grandmother

Far right in white dress: My maternal grandmother in England with family, friends, and staff, 1800's

My maternal grandmother at age 25, 1918

My mother crowned homecoming queen at Teacher's College, Spokane, Washington

"Just Married"

For ten years mother lived the roving life of a Navy wife in California, Nebraska, Missouri and then back to Washington. In 1959, she returned to Cathlamet with a divorce and three small children. She resumed teaching in Cathlamet at Wahkiakum High School where I was fortunate to have her for a teacher. Did I have a choice? Wah-Ki-Hi had approximately 200 students and mother taught a lot of classes (i.e., world history, debate, speech, drama, etc.) It's a good thing we got along so well but still I worked the hardest in her classes...

After twenty-one years of hard work as a beloved, highly admired educator she retired in 1981 and moved to Boston for a year. Then, on to France  where she found a 16th century stone farmhouse in the small village of  Lemere.  For the next ten years she lived the good life in the Loire Valley and travelled extensively throughout Europe. I can't think of anyone who deserved it more! I'm grateful that she finally had an opportunity to do something for herself as she had, for a very long time, sacrificed and supported so many others.

Steeple of Old Pioneer Church where my parents were married in 1948.
View of the Columbia River from the Victorian mother found for us after
she returned to Cathlamet, Washington in 1958.

Population sign for my hometown when I was growing up  (late 50's-60's).

View of Columbia River from balcony of house where mother raised me and my two siblings in Cathlamet, WA.

Sitting with mother on front stoop of military housing complex in Alameda, CA, July 1953.

My father serenades us during a rare leave home from sailing the seven seas. (early 50's)

My father teaching me to shoot a bow and arrow.
Cape Girardeau, Missouri, 1956

Playing in the woods with Mom and Dad
Tioga Pass, Yosemite National Park (August, 1953)

From left: Scott, Robin, and Laurie in the 1950's

Article in the Longview Daily News on dinner theater opening in Cathlamet

"Alice Irving's forte..."

I.C. Productions opens their first theater-in-the-round production with "The Owl and the Pussy Cat.

Letter from The Daily News praising Pierre's Restaurant and Cathlamet dinner theater

Article in The Oregonian about theater growing as mother prepares to begin new chapter

This is where mother lived her first year in France (1981-1982) after moving from Boston

Mother's house in Lemere, France

Mother spent a decade in this 16th century stone farmhouse in the Loire Valley after her retirement as an educator. She made a lot of new friends and met a wide variety of interesting expatriates. She didn't know how to speak french when she first arrived...

She lived in the small village of Lemere located 15 kilometres from Chinon where high castle walls overlook the peaked rooftops of the old town bordered by the Vienne River. This is where Joan of Arc delivered the fateful message to Charles VII, King of France, in 1429 informing him that he was the rightful heir of Charles VI. It is also the birthplace of Rabelais and the setting for his tales of Gargantua and Pantagruel.

View of sunflowers mother had from her house in Lemere.

"Winter Tree"
A photograph I took at mother's house in Lemere.

Chateau de la Vrillaye, Chaveignes

Mother was a good friend of the owner and enjoyed many soirees here with friends. During winter holidays I joined them for the annual New Years Eve dinner and dance at the chateau.

Mom testing her wheels coming out of a side gate at her place in the Loire.

Teacher's words echoed

A teacher's impact continues to amaze
A letter from Julia Butler Hansen

My letter to the editor of the Wahkiakum County Eagle after mother's passing

San Francisco resident imagines country life in city

San Francisco resident writes on the spirit of home

Alice Irving (1920-2003)
Difficulties Delight Us (Family Crest Motto)

"Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, magic and power in it."
I'll never forget the day mother returned to Cathlamet to resume her teaching career after the divorce with three small children in tow. It wasn't long before she bought this noble, elegant old house in the most exclusive part of town and resurrected it to give us a home. 

In Cathlamet, Washington this Victorian on the hill, the historic West house, manor of my youth still stands proudly over the Columbia River. Palm trees didn't used to hide the entrance and there were two huge weeping willows on the right that were for some reason removed.  


Our balcony in the old house had to be replaced after falling into front yard during the infamous Columbus Day Storm October 12, 1962 (in photo it hasn't yet been painted).


When I left home for the first time mother gave me a silver bracelet with one round little charm on it engraved simply with the word, Live. I have no idea what happened to it. At times, I miss it and imagine its still there, dangling from my left wrist. Its out there somewhere in the universe. Now, many years later, I take comfort in knowing that I followed her advice. My mother was the most enlightened, funniest, and generous person I've ever known.  She loved unconditionally with limitless trust and an open heart and mind. She will always be my hero - I owe everything to her...

"In the time of your life, live!"
                                                                           -William Soroyan

Dear Class of 1948.....

     Thank you for the invitation to your 50th reunion. As you may or may not remember, I was married in the "Old Congregational" Church shortly after your graduation. For ten years, I lived the roving life of a Navy wife: California, Nebraska, Missouri, and then back to Washington. In 1959, I returned to Cathlamet, with a divorce and three small children. I resumed teaching and spent the next 21 years at Wahkiakum High School, where I had the privilege of teaching some of your kids. I retired in 1981 and moved to Boston, Ma. for a year and then on to France for the next ten years--living the good live and travelling throughout Europe.
     Finally, my kids issued an ultimatum, and I came "HOME" to Cathlamet in time for Christmas, 1992.
     Thank you for the wonderful memories, for sharing your kids and for making my life so full.

                                                                                             Alice Irving





Thursday, December 8, 2011

Ceramic Sculptures by Alice Irving

The Grotesque
Painted clay sculpture, 1980's-1990's

The Drunkard
Painted clay sculpture by, 1980's-1990's

The Lost Soul
Painted clay sculpture, 1980's-1990's

The Storyteller
Painted clay sculpture, 1980's-1990's

The Bully
Painted clay sculpture, 1980's-1990's

The Cowboy
Painted clay sculpture, 1980's-1990's

The Frenchman
Painted clay sculpture, 1980's-1990's

The Pirate
Painted clay sculpture, 1980's-1990's

  The Sailor
Painted clay sculpture, 1980's-1990's

Paris - Perspective sur la Seine"

"Paris - Perspective sur la Seine"

I found this plate in an antique store in Hayes Valley years ago. It's a
magical plate.  I'm not sure how it was made but when you look at it
there is depth that draws you in so that you feel like you're right there -
walking along the Seine.


William Irving Photographs and History

My father, William Irving

My father (unknown location, 1940's)

Family Coat of Arms, Crest and Motto

Portrait of my paternal grandmother, Anne Ostrom Irving
(b. September 2, 1899)

Earl, Ann, grandmother and Jack, grandfather
(back of photo below)

Written by my grandmother in January (year unknown).
A lot of old photos were printed with postcard backings.

My father, 1945

Excerpt from Biography:

1943 to 1944 - "Attended US Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, NY, Graduated April 21, 1944 and received Third Mate License and USNR Commission as Ensign."

1945 - "Shipped out as Third Mate on Liberty Ship. In fall of 1944 signed on as Third Mate on S/S Chantilly (T-2 Tanker) operating between U.S. and U.K. in North Atlantic. January 1945 joined S/S Bushy Run (T-2) as Third Mate. This ship was employed between Persian Gulf and Mediterranean. Received Second Mate License and was signed on as Second Officer S/S Creighton Victory. Made one voyage from West Coast to Philippines and return, then a second voyage to China and thence to East Coast U.S. via Singapore and Suez Canal."

May 1946 - "Received Chief Mate License (renewed 3rd Issue April 1962). decided to leave the sea and study art at the National Academy of Design, New York City. Realizing that art is a difficult field in which to make a living in 1947 I signed on as Navigator of the Yacht, Southern Sea (120' twin diesel), and took her from Miami to Seattle. I was employed by the U.S. Army Transport Service there in June and sent as Chief Mate to the Columbia River Decommissioning Unit in Cathlamet, Washington."

A note: My grandfather, Captain John H. Irving, told one of his other sons to go to New York City and 'convince' my father, who was happily living the bohemian artist's life, that he must abandon a career in art for one in the military.



Grandmother Anne Ostrom Irving with her three sons
From left: William Clark Irving "Buddy" ( my father), Clark Ostrom Irving "Lambie", and John Hamilton Irving, Jr. "Sonny"

My father, "Buddy" as a young boy on horseback

My father on an old race horse at Del Monte California Stables, 1931
Grandfather training a horse while in the US Cavalry.

My paternal grandfather, Captain John Hamilton Irving, riding Big Ben when he was in the 5th US Cavalry in Fort Clark, Texas 1929. He retired as a Colonel on November 30, 1944. (b. 4-27-1897, d. 10-4-1965)
He was the son of John Beaufain Irving III. His grandfather was the artist, John Beaufain Irving I.

Father's journal excerpt:

"Dad commanded A Troop, 5th Cavalry, and it was here that my mother taught me to ride and to swim. We were transported to school in a mule-drawn ambulance wagon."

Grandfather's journal excerpt Sept.-Oct. 1929:
"Jumped the show horses over the course. They all went well. Sent Big Ben out for an hour and he showed great improvement on his jumping. Inspection of quarters and stable by the General..."

My paternal grandmother, Anne Ostrom Irving

My grandmother, Anne Ostrom Irving, riding Big Ben, September 1929.
She was the daughter of Cora Chambers Ostrom (1871-1956)

The Irvings of South Carolina were great horse racing people. One of them,  John Beaufain Irving II, my great, great grandfather was also an artist.  His father John Beaufain Irving I, "Dr. John", owned rice plantations on the Cooper River near Charleston and wrote A Day on the Cooper River and The South Carolina Jockey Club.

Ancestors include the following signees of the Declaration of Independence:

Arthur Middleton (1742-87)
Buried in Episcopal vault at "Middleton Place"
near Charleston, S.C.

Thomas Heyward, Jr. (1746-1809)
Buried at Episcopal family cemetery
Old House Plantation
Jasper County, S.C.

Thomas Lynch, Jr. (1749-79)
He was a representative of South Carolina
who signed for his father due to illness.

Marge Irving Frost (about 1915)
At the bottom of this portrait is a "Very truly yours" signature by Harry Roseland, who may have been the artist.

"Under the Spreading Chestnut Tree" (Written on back of photo by Grandmother Irving, 1955)
 This amazing tree overlooked Dyes Inlet at my grandparent's property in Bremerton.

Having fun with Dad on Dyes Inlet during family reunion at grandparent's estate. (August 1961)

Family Reunion at our grandparent's place on Dyes Inlet in Bremerton, Washington (August 1961)